These days the boundaries between hostel and hotel are quite fluent, and many of the low-budget former specialise in design and lifestyle, and are even “five-star”. Still, hostels remain clearly the cheaper option even if you don’t have to make too many compromises in terms of service and comfort.

Another advantage for travellers or visiting friends and family: most hostels are very centrally located in cities, thus convenient for the nightlife and the main sights. Their receptions are usually manned both in the day and at night-time, so there is an experienced contact person within reach.

Hostel workers often have the best insider tips for restaurants and bars, and can advise on public transport too, to the advantage of your purse.

Another argument for hostels is their social factor. Cosy lounges and common kitchens induce a very open and communicative atmosphere, for sharing your travel experiences and tips with other travellers and cooking something international together.

Here are five hostels in Budapest where you or your visitors can stay without hesitation.

Casa de la Musica

This establishment in Vas utca in District VIII is particularly attractive for young travellers with its central location near Blaha Lujza tér and its large summer terrace. The accommodation ranges from private two-bed rooms with or without balconies to mixed dormitories with up to 12 beds. In the kitchen you can always find free coffee and tea, and in summer the Bikini Beach Bar on the terrace and the pool both offer the perfect way to cool down. The cost is between EUR 7 per person per night for mixed dormitories for 10 or 12 people and EUR 26 per person per night for the private room with balcony during, say, busy times such as New Year’s Eve. They offer discounts for Erasmus students and group bookings. The hostel design is very convincing – the colourfully designed inner courtyard is only superseded by the individually and, mostly, thematically designed rooms. You can sleep for example in the hippie room or you can feel the groove of the 1970s in the retro design room. See www.facebook.com/casadelamusicabudapest #


Avenue Hostel

This one at Oktogon attracts with spotless cleanliness, a rich breakfast buffet, which is included in the price, and very friendly employees. The interior design is dominated by stylish chipboards, which achieves both a rustic and modern effect. You will meet a lot of travellers from the “older generation” here, which is also due to the fact that the hostel offers individual lockers and free security for all your belongings. They also provide towels and bed linen in the price and they offer a washing service for a small fee, which allows staying for a longer time with smaller baggage. The price ranges from EUR 5 per person per night in four- to 12-bed dormitories (out of season) to EUR 40 each for a four-person room (main season). See www.avenuehostel.hu

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The Hive

This party hostel is absolutely nearby the most popular bars, clubs and pubs with its central location in Dob utca. The large bar and the roof terrace are perfect for “warming up” before long party nights. With more than 300 beds, this hostel is a magnet for travellers longing for adventure. Therefore it is not really suitable for children. Security and services are well-provided with the luggage room, security lockers, permanently occupied reception and a kitchen. You can live like a bee at The Hive – besides the honeycomb-shaped bunk beds the black and yellow colours also dominate the design. They offer quite versatile activities ranging from beer-bikes to pub-crawls to renting a private boat and expeditions in the caves of Budapest. A bed in the mixed dormitories for 16 people costs EUR 12 or rent a private four-bed room for EUR 60 per night. See www.thehive.hu

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Lavender Circus Hostel

This hostel should appeal to everyone fond of great design but without a too tight budget. Each room is unique, with handmade drawings and a décor that invites a comfortable get-together. You don’t have to worry about noisy “sleeping companions” here – the hostel offers only double rooms and the emphasis is on privacy. The quiet building near Kálvin tér is especially family-friendly, since there is enough space for an additional bed in every room. Prices are between EUR 40 per night for a double room with shared bathroom and EUR 55 for a double room with own kitchen and own bathroom. Security is guaranteed and all the services are offered (towels, fully equipped kitchens, bed linen, washing machines, hair dryers, etc.) See www.lavendercircus.com

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Fifteen Boutique Rooms

The family-friendly hostel on the Buda side near Széll Kálmán tér is surrounded by the greenery of Városmajor Park. Every room has its own bathroom and the garden offers a cosy terrace to drink your cup of coffee or a glass of wine in the evening. There are large wall paintings of the familiar Budapest sights, which make it even easier to “fall in love with the city”. At this hostel, which is mostly visited by couples and young families, breakfast is included in the price. This starts at EUR 50 per night per room and a minimum stay of two nights is required. See www.facebook.com/budapestfifteen

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Are you staying at a hostel for the first time and you don’t know exactly how to behave? Here is a list to help.

The 10 commandments of hostels

Don’t take what’s not yours.

Don’t hang your towels on the steps of the bunk beds.

Don’t talk in your mother tongue if that would mean excluding others from the conversation.

Wash your dishes.

Don’t use others’ food.

Don't leave your backpack lying around.

Don’t use others’ towels.

Always carry earplugs with you.

Don’t switch the lights on at night.

Don’t rustle plastic bags.

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